Friday, October 26, 2007

Only in Israel

Check out this commemorative stamp:


  1. Sorry to obsess about this, but what's the antepenultimate letter in the Arabic spelling of "Israel" (before the ya lam)? Is that a nun???

  2. two dots under an upwards stroke is the middle form of ya (yud)

  3. I mean the one before the ya.

  4. my bad. i think that's a hamza. it says that the alif makes an 'a' sound when above, an 'ee' when below

  5. But it's not on the alif! Am I crazy?

  6. I don't think that's how I've usually seen Isra'il spelled, and alif's hamza goes on top of itself. . . check it against some Israeli money.

  7. do they make all six mishna stamps? if so, I wonder what they put on nezikim, a psychotic bull?

  8. i agree with rebecca... I'm just assuming that the spelling is correct and based on grammar I'm not aware of and that hamza is the only thing shaped like that (a kind of 4 or upside down h) that appears when there's no vowels

  9. from the WATEC article has Israel spelled the same way.


    Alif with hamza on the bottom
    something with hamza on the top
    Paste in word to see it bigger
    Alif is a funky letter when it combines with other letters.

  10. sorry, to keep posting, but I've been thinking about it. I think it's two alifs in a row. As you know, alif in Arabic can signal a long vowel or be a consonant. So it's
    YiSRaAiL in effect, with the alif after the Ra lengthening the ra, following by Alif-Ya with makes the "ai" sound

  11. do they make all six mishna stamps?

    I don't know, but I totally want the whole set!

    if so, I wonder what they put on nezikim, a psychotic bull?

    Nezikin also includes Masechet Avodah Zarah, so the possibilities are endless. Tohorot should have been a parah adumah.

  12. they make all six mishna stamps?

    BZ wrote: I don't know, but I totally want the whole set!

    I am happy to inform you that I have the whole set: both individual stamps and first day covers.
    The series was issued in two parts. The first 3 in 2005: (I'm quoting from the description from the Israel Philatelic Service)
    Seder Zeraim - the stamp depicts a sack of grain in a field and sheaves.
    Seder Moed - the stamp shows the Zodiac, a wine goblet for the Festival Kiddush, and matzah (unleavened bread).
    Seder Nashim - the stamp protrays an unadorned golden engagement ring and an additional ring, on the background of a ketubah (marriage contract).

    The second set was issued in 2006:
    Seder Nezikin - the stamp presents the archetypes of damage: an ox and fire. The scales represent the court, that judges between the plaintiff and the defendant.
    Seder Kodashim - the stamp shows a dove on the background of an ancient wall. It depicts the bird burnt-offering to the Lord, as written in Leviticus 1:14 ...
    Seder Tohorot - the stamp depicts a vessel for the washing of the hands and water, that are the two elements required for cleansing hands that were defiled. A water pitcher is seen on the border.

    Both first day covers are post-marked Bene Beraq.

    I will give these to you when you return to Chicago, or you can count on them some day as part of your inheritance.

    - BZ's Mom

  13. Per the Arabic orthography debate:

    I seem to remember (and my Arabic is very rusty) that following an alif, one can get a hamza over a ya to start a syllable with /I/ or /i/. Hence- Isra'il, not Isra'ail, I believe- although there there could be dialectical differences.

  14. Its called an "alif makhsura", and can also be found in Hebrew, as in the word "סתיו". The Hamza signifies an extra alif should be pronounced but is not written.
    Thus: ישראיל (kethib)
    but ישרא-איל (kere)
    A similar phenomenon is the English use of an apostrophe to signify stops in transliteration (giv'at)